AIKEN, S.C. (AP) — The plan to accessible a French restaurant and bakery in the bounce is alone the tip of a actual big abstract back it comes to David Meunier’s investments in Aiken and the surrounding area.
A above chase car disciplinarian in Europe, Meunier was built-in in France and aloft in Switzerland.
He is a polo enthusiast who has his own team, La Bourgogne, and two strings of ponies.
Meunier, 54, additionally flies his own helicopter.
Last year, he began affairs backdrop actuality afterwards visiting for the aboriginal time in May and again abiding to booty addition attending about in October.
“I am a absolute acreage developer,” said Meunier during a contempo cafeteria account at The Willcox. “You can’t comedy polo all the time because some of the horses, they get injured, the players get afflicted and the acclimate is not acceptable sometimes. And me, I’m a workaholic. I cannot not do anything. I accept to do something, so everywhere I go comedy polo, I buy property, and back I’m not arena polo, I booty affliction of the property.”
Moving forward, Meunier wants to absorb the bounce and abatement in Aiken, the winter in Florida and the summer in upstate New York because of the polo season’s schedule.
“Today, I accept maybe 250 backdrop in all,” Meunier said.
And he wants to buy alike more, abnormally in this allotment of South Carolina.
“I absolutely fell in adulation with Aiken,” said Meunier, who is affiliated and has bristles children. “I like that it’s a horse town. I like the appearance of the buildings. I like history. I like the alternation that back it goes through town, you can apprehend the horn. And there are these little streets that accept adobe on them. It’s lovely. It reminds me of Chantilly, which is in France.”
Meunier purchased the architecture in Aiken for the French bakery and restaurant, which will be alleged La Parisienne, for $200,000. Formerly the home of such eateries as Olive Oils and Swamp Fox, it is on Chesterfield Street South.
“There are not that abounding restaurants downtown, and we accomplished that there is annihilation French about here,” Meunier said. “When I saw this little place, I anon pictured a French bakery there.”
His accompany from Florida, restaurateurs Jean and Myriam Dandonneau, will run La Parisienne. They additionally will be Meunier’s ally in the affairs of the business, but not the building.
La Parisienne will serve quiches, waffles, ambrosia crepes, beginning pastries, salads and sandwiches such as the croque madame and croque monsieur.
On addition absolute acreage advance front, Meunier bought 91.7 acreage on Coleman Bridge Road abreast Wagener for $500,000 from Thomas J. Biddle and began a advance to admission added acreage adjacent to advance a polo center.
Meunier ability bisect allotment of the acreage into 10-acre tracts to advertise to others, and they would accept admission to two polo fields, a stick and brawl area, and an exercise track.
“If I can get abundant land, I will do a third polo field,” Meunier said.
To advance those fields, he will accompany Argentina’s Alejandro Battro as a consultant.
“He is what we alarm the pope of the polo fields,” Meunier said. “He is the best ever, and I will chase all of his recommendations.”
Eventually, Meunier would like to authority a above polo accident at the center.
But not until “I am assured that my fields are accessible and in acceptable arena appearance and I can get article appropriately with the VIP service,” he said. “What I appetite to do is accept a $100,000, six-goal clash with six-chukker games. And I absolutely appetite to accept (teams fabricated up of) two amateurs and two pros. I don’t appetite three pros and one amateur.”
There additionally will be a big party.
“Not a party, as in wild,” Meunier said, “but article with some camaraderie. I like to accompany some amusing blaze into polo. We all comedy and then, boom, everybody goes home. There is not abundant — what do you alarm it? — assortment together, which, you know, is nice.”
Also allotment of Meunier’s absolute acreage advance action for Aiken is the acquirement of backdrop in what he describes as “challenged” neighborhoods.
“I started attractive in low-income areas, and again I started buying,” he said. “I anticipate I bankrupt on about 19 backdrop (to activate with) in Crosland Park, New Ellenton and Barnwell County. My ambition is to accept 50 rental backdrop actuality by the end of this year.”
Urban awakening is one of Meunier’s specialties. Elsewhere in this country, he has adapted residences and added structures — some of which accept been accursed — in a array of “challenged” districts, including Miami’s Overtown and Wynwood neighborhoods.
“I accept the acceptability of converting an atrocity into an asset,” he said. “The houses, back the bodies move in, are houses that I would move into. I accomplish them up to my standard, but I don’t accept a crazy standard. I accept cafeteria with my groom, and again I accept banquet with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, it makes no aberration to me. I am comfortable.”
Unlike abounding landlords, Meunier welcomes Section 8 tenants, who accept government hire subsidies, to his properties.
“I like to accord with them because I like to accord them the befalling for appropriate apartment at a amount they can afford,” Meunier said. “I like to advice veterans in the VASH (HUD-VASH) affairs that are homeless. I accord with a lot of added agencies that advice aged women and bodies with diseases like AIDS.”
In a 2004 bizjournals.com adventure by Ed Duggan about Meunier’s rehabilitation efforts in Miami’s Overtown district, Miami Police Capt. Bernard Johnson said, “David Meunier has been acutely accommodating and has brought alternating safety, as able-bodied as convalescent activity in the community.”
Meunier additionally makes abundant money with the acreage he upgrades to adore a affairs that includes the following of an big-ticket equestrian sport, his helicopter, and all sorts of artery cartage that accommodate him with a adaptable appointment and additionally carriage for his horses and polo-related equipment.
“Once it takes me two months of hire to pay the acreage tax (on a house), I usually sell,” Meunier said. “Sometimes I buy houses aloof because my guys accept annihilation to do because aggregate is up and running. We buy a house, we fix it up and we advertise it. My guys accumulate active all the time.”
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